A CASE OF COUNTERFEIT AND STOLEN MERCHANDISE

Cargo thefts are on the rise and companies are doing their best to stay afloat as these thieves constantly prey upon them. A premium brand denim company has been striking back and aggressively investigating the thefts that they have been victims of. What we learned in a recent case was that counterfeiters and thieves are working hand in hand in their efforts to make easy money.

A subject operating a warehouse near the Downtown Los Angeles area was recently arrested as part of an undercover sting operation. Investigators learned from a source on the East Coast that the subject was offering “hot” jeans and looking for serious buyers that would buy in bulk. The investigation heated up at that point and undercover investigators were assigned to determine what the subject was up to. Investigators were able to make purchases from the subject’s warehouse and the victim denim company was able to confirm that some of the items purchased were recently stolen. It was key that the company could clearly show that the items purchased from the subject had positively come from a stolen load.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, COPS Bureau jumped into the investigation. The Sheriff’s Department compiled all the evidence and information. A search warrant was obtained for the subject’s warehouse. The Sheriff’s Department teamed up with ICE’s Intellectual Property Rights Group to serve the warrant. They served the warrant and arrested the subject and three other subjects for multiple crimes.

Law enforcement recovered just under $ 200,000 worth of stolen merchandise, along with several hundred counterfeit items. Items recovered by law enforcement were collected before they were able to be officially reported stolen. Recently we have been seeing more and more cases where counterfeiters are also dealing in stolen goods.

By Kris Buckner, Investigative Consultants

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